China Railway Construction completes rebuilding of Angola’s Benguela railroad

14 August 2014

China Railway Construction has completed the project to rebuild Angola’s 1,344 km long Benguela railroad, which stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo, China’s Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday.

The company’s director for the project, Liu Feng, said the line was the longest of Angola’s three major railways, besides being the fastest. It links the port city of Lobito to the border town of Luau, where it links to the rail network of DR Congo.

The contract involved rebuilding 67 stations and will allow a maximum train speed of 90 km per hour with capacity for 20 million tons of cargo per year. China Railway Construction indicated that it cost the Angolan state US$1.83 billion.

Liu also told Xinhua that the reconstruction work was based on the gauge (distance between rails) used in China. The previous one was Portuguese and did not allow speeds of more than 30 km per hour.

The Benguela Line project was built as a key-in-hand project and now operates using Chinese standards. All the equipment was imported from China, along with some of the manpower, which counted nearly 100,000 Angolan workers.

Portugal began construction of the line in 1899. The connection to Luau was finished in 1929 and in 1931 the port of Lobito received by rail the first cargo of copper from Katanga.

China Railway Construction is listed on the Shanghai and Hong Kong exchanges. The company specialises in building railway lines, highways and rapid transit networks. (macauhub/AO/CN)

MACAUHUB FRENCH